North Carolina will look to close out what it believes has been the best season in school history with a statement-making college football lines win over the completely banged-up Baylor Bears when the two teams clash in the 2015 Russell Athletic Bowl on Dec. 29 at 5:30 PM ET, live from the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida. I believe this contest is offering as much value as any remaining bowl game on the docket, so let’s find out who’s going to bring home the bacon.
How To Bet the Tar Heels vs. Bears 2015 Russell Athletic Bowl NCAA Football Odds, TV & Game Info
When: Tuesday, December 29, 5:30 PM ET
Where: Orlando Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Florida
LINE: Baylor -2.5
The Baylor Bears are a 2.5-point underdog on Bowl college football lines to beat favored North Carolina and a -160 pick against the Moneyline. The Bears are a +135 Moneyline pick while the game’s O/U Total sits at 70.5
Why Bet The Baylor Bears Odds at +2.5
Because they’ve got an insane offense and a great coach in Art Briles! The main reason to bet on Baylor (9-3 SU, 5-6 ATS) in this contest is the fact that the Bears can generally score the ball on anyone. The Bears lead the nation in scoring (48.0) and total offense (604.6 yards) despite losing starting quarterback Seth Russell (2,104 yards, 29 TD passes) in the seventh game of the season with a neck injury.
Since that time, the Bears have used four different quarterbacks. For this contest, Baylor will start third-string backup Chris Johnson, a player that has thrown only 38 passes this season. Unfortunately, the Bears won’t have Fred Biletnikoff Award winner, wide receiver Corey Coleman (74 receptions, 1,363 yards and a nation-leading 20 touchdown receptions). Baylor will also be without star running back Shock Linwood (1,329 yards rushing, 10 TDs) due to a broken foot.
The Bears still have plenty of talent in wideouts KD Cannon (46 catches, 828 yards, six TDs) and Jay Lee (36, 726, eight) while backup running back Johnny Jefferson rushed for 158 yards in the regular-season finale against Texas and 701 yards on the season.
Baylor allows 27.5 points per game and will look to snap a two-game skid by pulling off the upset.
Why Bet The North Carolina Tar Heels Odds at -2.5
The Tar Heels may have had their 11-game winning streak snapped in their season-ending 45-37 loss against No. 1 Clemson in the ACC title game, but the Tar Heels still have plenty to play for as they try to record a school-record 12th win. North Carolina is led by gifted dual-threat quarterback Marquise Williams. The elusive senior signal-caller is one of five ACC players in history to accumulate more than 10,000 yards of offense. Williams has been on fire for the better part of the last two months as he tossed 12 of his 21 touchdown passes over his final six games while tossing just two interceptions along the way. Williams has also rushed for 867 yards and 11 touchdowns while putting up a school-record 94 touchdowns in his career.
Sophomore running back Elijah Hood rushed for a stellar 1,345 yards and 17 touchdowns and the Hells have an All-American at guard in Landon Turner. North Carolina ranked 10th in the nation by averaging a stellar 40.9 points per game while also ranking a solid 33rd in points allowed (22.6 ppg).
My Expert Pick & Final Score Prediction
63 percent of the betting public likes North Carolina to get the win and ATS cover and I’m surprised that it’s not a lot higher, seeing as how Baylor has been reduced to using their first-string water boy as their starting quarterback. The Bears are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 non-conference games and 16-7 ATS in their last 23 games against a team with a winning record, but they’ve also gone just 1-5 ATS in their last six games overall.
North Carolina is a perfect 4-0 ATS in their last four games following an ATS loss, 6-1 ATS in their last seven games against a team with a winning record and 4-1 ATS in their last five games following a straight up loss.
I’m going with Marquise Williams and the underrated Tar Heels to take down the banged-up Baylor Bears!
My final score prediction: North Carolina 31 Baylor 21